STAR GATE [Controlled Remote Viewing]
STAR GATE was one of a number of "remote viewing programs" conducted under
a variety of code names, including SUN STREAK, GRILL FLAME, and CENTER
LANE by DIA and INSCOM, and SCANATE by CIA. These efforts were initiated
to assess foreign programs in the field; contract for basic research into
the the phenomenon; and to evaluate controlled remote viewing as an intelligence
The program consisted of two separate activities. An operational unit
employed remote viewers to train and perform remote viewing intelligence-gathering.
The research program was maintained separately from the operational unit.
This effort was initiated in response to CIA concerns about reported
Soviets investigations of psychic phenomena. Between 1969 and 1971, US
intelligence sources concluded that the Soviet Union was engaged in "psychotronic"
research. By 1970, it was suggested that the Soviets were spending approximately
60 million rubles per year on it, and over 300 million by 1975. The money
and personnel devoted to Soviet psychotronics suggested that they had achieved
breakthroughs, even though the matter was considered speculative, controversial
The initial research program, called SCANATE [scan by coordinate] was
funded by CIA beginning in 1970. Remote viewing research began in 1972
at the Stanford Research Institute [SRI] in Menlo Park, CA. This work was
conducted by Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff, once with the NSA and at
the time a Scientologist. The effort initially focused on a few "gifted
individuals" such as New York artist Ingo Swann, an OT Level VII Scientologist.
Many of the SRI "empaths" were from the Church of Scientology. Individuals
who appeared to show potential were trained and taught to use talents for
"psychic warfare." The minimum accuracy needed by the clients was said
to be 65%, and proponents claim that in the later stages of the training
effort, this accuracy level was "often consistently exceeded."
GONDOLA WISH was a 1977 Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence
(ACSI) Systems Exploitation Detachment (SED) effort to evaluate potential
adversary applications of remote viewing.
Building on GONDOLA WISH, an operational collection project was formalized
under Army intelligence as GRILL FLAME in mid-1978. Located in buildings
2560 and 2561 at Fort Meade, MD, GRILL FLAME, (INSCOM "Detachment G") consisted
of soldiers and a few civilians who were believed to possess varying degrees
of natural psychic ability. The SRI research program was integrated into
GRILL FLAME in early 1979, and hundreds of remote viewing experiments were
carried out at SRI through 1986.
In 1983 the program was re-designated the INSCOM CENTER LANE Project
(ICLP). Ingo Swann and Harold Puthoff at SRI developed a set of instructions
which theoretically allowed anyone to be trained to produce accurate, detailed
target data. used this new collection methodology against a wide range
of operational and training targets. The existence of this highly classified
program was reported by columnist Jack Anderson in April 1984.
In 1984 the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council
evaluated the remote viewing program for the Army Research Institute. The
results were unfavorable.
When Army funding ended in late 1985, the unit was redesignated SUN
STREAK and transferred to DIA's Scientific and Technical Intelligence Directorate,
with the office code DT-S.
Under the auspices of the DIA, the program transitioned to Science Applications
International Corporation [SAIC] in 1991 and was renamed STAR GATE. The
project, changed from a SAP (Special Access Program) to a LIMDIS (limited
dissemination) program, continued with the participation of Edwin May,
who presided over 70% of the total contractor budget and 85% of the program's
Over a period of more than two decades some $20 million were spent on
STAR GATE and related activities, with $11 million budgeted from the mid-1980's
to the early 1990s. Over forty personnel served in the program at various
times, including about 23 remote viewers. At its peak during the mid-1980s
the program included as many as seven full-time viewers and as many analytical
and support personnel. Three psychics were reportedly worked at FT Meade
for the CIA from 1990 through July 1995. The psychics were made available
to other government agencies which requested their services.
Participants who apparently demonstrated psychic abilities used at least
three different techniques various times:
By 1995 the program had conducted several hundred intelligence collection
projects involving thousands of remote viewing sessions. Notable successes
were said to be "eight martini" results, so-called because the remote viewing
data were so mind-boggling that everyone has to go out and drink eight
martinis to recover. Reported intelligence gathering successes included:
Coordinate Remote Viewing (CRV) - the original SRI-developed technique
in which viewers were asked what they "saw" at specified geographic coordinates
Extended Remote Viewing (ERV) - a hybrid relaxation/meditative-based
Written Remote Viewing (WRV) - a hybrid of both channeling and automatic
writing was introduced in 1988, though it proved controversial and was
regarded by some as much less reliable.
The US program was sustained through the support of Sen. Claiborne Pell,
D-R.I., and Rep. Charles Rose, D-N.C., who were convinced of the program's
effectiveness. However, by the early 1990s the program was plagued by uneven
management, poor unit morale, divisiveness within the organization, poor
performance, and few accurate results. The FY 1995 Defense Appropriations
bill directed that the program be transferred to CIA, with CIA instructed
to conduct a retrospective review of the program. In 1995 the American
Institutes for Research (AIR) was contracted by CIA to evaluate the program.
Their 29 September 1995 final report was released
to the public 28 November 1995. A positive assessment by statistician Jessica
Utts, that a statistically significant effect had been demonstrated in
the laboratory [the government psychics were said to be accurate about
15 percent of the time], was offset by a negative one by psychologist Ray
Hyman [a prominent CSICOP psychic debunker]. The final recommendation by
AIR was to terminate the STAR GATE effort. CIA concluded that there was
no case in which ESP had provided data used to guide intelligence operations.
Joe McMoneagle, a retired Special Project Intelligence Officer for SSPD,
SSD, and 902d MI Group, claims to have left Stargate in 1984 with a Legion
of Merit Award for providing information on 150 targets that were unavailable
from other sources.
In 1974 one remote viewer appeared to have correctly described an airfield
with a large gantry and crane at one end of the field. The airfield at
the given map coordinates was the Soviet nuclear testing area at Semipalatinsk
-- a possible underground nuclear testing site [PNUTS]. In general, however,
most of the receiver's data were incorrect or could not be evaluated.
A "remote viewer" was tasked to locate a Soviet Tu-95 bomber which had
crashed somewhere in Africa, which he allegedly did within several miles
of the actual wreckage.
In September 1979 the National Security Council staff asked about a Soviet
submarine under construction. The remote viewer reported that a very large,
new submarine with 18-20 missile launch tubes and a "large flat area" at
the aft end would be launched in 100 days. Two subs, one with 24 launch
tubes and the other with 20 launch tubes and a large flat aft deck, were
reportedly sighted in 120 days.
One assignment included locating kidnapped BG James L. Dozier, who had
been kidnapped by the Red Brigades in Italy in 1981. He was freed by Italian
police after 42 days, apparently without help from the psychics. [according
to news reports, Italian police were assisted by "US State and Defense
Department specialists" using electronic surveillance equipment, an apparent
reference to the Special Collection Service]
Another assignment included trying to hunt down Gadhafi before the 1986
bombing of Libya, but Gadhafi was not injured in the bombing.
In February 1988 DIA asked where Marine Corps COL William Higgins was being
held in Lebanon. A remote viwer stated that Higgins was in a specific building
in a specific South Lebanon village, and a released hostage later said
to have claimed that Higgins had probably been in that building at that
In January 1989 DOD was said to have asked about Libyan chemical weapons
work. A remote viewer reported that ship named either Patua or Potua
would sail from Tripoli to transport chemicals to an eastern Libyan port.
Reportedly, a ship named Batato loaded an undetermined cargo in
Tripoli and brought to an eastern Libyan port.
Reportedly a remote-viewer "saw" that a KGB colonel caught spying in South
Africa had been smuggling information using a pocket calculator containing
a communications device. It is said that questioniong along these lines
by South African intelligence led the spy to cooperate.
During the Gulf War remote-viewers were reported to have suggested the
whereabouts of Iraq's Saddam Hussein, though there was never an independent
verification of this finding.
The unit was tasked to find plutonium in North Korea in 1994, apparently
without notable success.
Remote viewers were also said to have helped find SCUD missiles and secret
biological and chemical warfare projects, and to have located and identified
the purposes of tunnels and extensive underground facilities.
Maintained by Steven Aftergood
Created by John Pike
Updated December 29, 2005